Influence of gender, height, weight, age, seated position and collision site related to neck pain symptoms in rear end impacts

Stefan Olsén
Mats Y. Svensson
Anna Carlsson

Rear end vehicle collisions can result in occupants suffering neck pain symptoms of varying degree and duration. These injuries are generally called whiplash injuries and they are common and costly. This study analyses the occurance and duration of neck pain symptoms of one particular vehicle make with focus on the influence of occupant specific information. Data collected from a Swedish vehicle make, model year 1993 up to model year 2007 at a maximum of three years old, were analysed. The results from this study show that passengers are more likely than drivers to suffer neck pain symptoms, in crashes that occurred in that particular make of car. No significant differences in risk related to age, gender weight, and height could be identified, except for: Females aged 35-44 had higher risk to have long and medium term neck pain symptoms than males in the same group of age. Males aged >=65 had higher risk to have long and medium term neck pain symptoms than males aged 35-44. Females in group "Braking" had higher risk of any type of neck pain symptoms than males. Where the occupant was seated in the front seat of the carinfluenced the occurance of neck pain symptoms and their duration for both males and females, with passengers posing a higher risk of suffering neck pain symptoms compared to drivers. Of the drivers, 17 percent reported neck pain symptoms compared to 44 percent of the passengers. When grouped into the categories males and females, 15 percent of the male and 19 percent of the female drivers reported neck pain symptoms compared to 44 percent of the male and 43 percent of the female passengers. With respect to the different collision sites, rear end collisions at traffic lights most often resulted in occupants reporting neck pain symptoms. Collisions in roundabouts most often resulted in different impact scenarios and occupants reported suffering neck pain symptoms of mid and long term duration. The result of this study indicates the need for improved understanding of the differences between driver and passenger response in different driving scenarios. In addition, occupant charactersisics should also be studied.

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